Nine VFL games will be part of double-headers at AFL venues this season, across the MCG (3), MARVEL Stadium (4) and GMHBA Stadium (2).
The games will showcase to a wider audience the talent at state-league level, with 14 VFL players added to AFL lists across the drafts and off-season. It will also allow fans to watch the development of AFL-listed players and follow their journey as they strive to becoming regular players at the elite level in the future.
AFL Head of Talent Pathways & State League Competitions, Tristan Salter, said the increase in curtain raiser games from six to nine for the VFL in 2019 will help expose the competition to new audiences.
“The increase in curtain raiser games will allow football fans to arrive early and see some of the stars of the future, as well as providing great value for money for those supporters, with a shorter time gap between VFL and AFL games,” Mr Salter said.
“For the VFL listed players, the potential exposure and experience of playing at elite AFL venues provides them with a preview of what could be, with many players hoping to emulate the likes of the 14 recent draftees/rookies from the competition, including Michael Gibbons, Tom Atkins and Marty Hore, who have followed different pathways to make the AFL, but all developed their game at VFL level for a number of years.”
The completion of the VFL curtain raiser games will be closer to the start time of the AFL clash from one hour down to 45 minutes, to enable fans to arrive early and not have a long wait time between matches.
VFL broadcast partner Channel 7 will feature seven of the nine curtain raiser games throughout the season, providing football fans a Sunday football feast, incorporating live VFL and AFL games across the day.
“The move of the broadcast games to Sunday will provide wall-to-wall football across the day on Channel 7 for diehard fans, allowing supporters to watch their VFL and AFL aligned teams play back-to-back,” Mr Salter said.
“The double-header games will not be only across AFL venues, but also in increased numbers across VFL venues this season.
“There will be 34 VFL and Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s double-header matches scheduled across the season, with games returning to traditional venues like Moorabbin Oval (RSEA Stadium) and Arden Street throughout the year.”
The 2019 Hard Yakka / Total Workwear VFL season begins on Friday April 5, with the full list of curtain-raiser games below:
VFL Round 2 Sandringham v Box Hillon Sunday April 14, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to St Kilda v Hawthorn)
VFL Round 8 Sandringham v Northern Blues on Sunday May 26, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to St Kilda v Carlton)
VFL Round 15 Footscray v Casey Demons on Sunday July 14, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to Western Bulldogs v Melbourne)
VFL Round 18 Northern Blues v Collingwood on Sunday August 4, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to Carlton v West Coast Eagles)
VFL Round 5 Essendon v Geelong Cats on Sunday May 5, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to Essendon v Geelong Cats)
VFL Round 6 Box Hill v Footscray on Sunday May 12, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to Hawthorn v GWS Giants)
VFL Round 19 Richmond v Northern Blues on Sunday August 11, 11.50am
(curtain-raiser to Richmond v Carlton)
VFL Round 15 Geelong Cats v Sandringham on Saturday July 13, 3.45pm
(curtain-raiser to Geelong Cats v St Kilda)
VFL Round 19 Geelong Cats v North Melbourne on Saturday August 10, 3.45pm
(curtain-raiser to Geelong v North Melbourne)